A design problem is viewed as a complex system divisible into modules. Before the design of a complex system can begin, much time and money are spent in determining the couplings among modules and the presence of iterative loops. This is important because the design manager must know how to group the modules into substems and how to assign subsystems to design teams so that changes in one subsystem will have predictable effects on other subsystems. Determining these subsystems is not an easy, straightforward process and often important couplings are overlooked. Moreover, the planning task must be repeated as new information becomes available or as the design specifications change. The purchase of this research effort is to develop a knowledge-based tool to act as an intelligent advisor for the design manager. This tool identifies the subsystems of a complex design problem, orders them into a well-structured format, and marks the couplings among the subsystems to facilitate the use of multilevel tools. The tool was tested in the decomposition of the COFS (Control of Flexible Structures) mast design which has about 50 modules. This test indicated that this type of approach could lead to a substantial savings by organizing and displaying a complex problem as a sequence of subsystems easily divisible among design teams.